POLO ensures chromosome bi-orientation by preventing and correcting erroneous chromosome-spindle attachments

J Cell Sci. 2012 Feb 1;125(Pt 3):576-83. doi: 10.1242/jcs.092445.


Correct chromosome segregation during cell division requires bi-orientation at the mitotic spindle. Cells possess mechanisms to prevent and correct inappropriate chromosome attachment. Sister kinetochores assume a 'back-to-back' geometry on chromosomes that favors amphitelic orientation but the regulation of this process and molecular components are unknown. Abnormal chromosome-spindle interactions do occur but are corrected through the activity of Aurora B, which destabilizes erroneous attachments. Here, we address the role of Drosophila POLO in chromosome-spindle interactions and show that, unlike inhibition of its activity, depletion of the protein results in bipolar spindles with most chromosomes forming stable attachments with both sister kinetochores bound to microtubules from the same pole in a syntelic orientation. This is partly the result of impaired localization and activity of Aurora B but also of an altered centromere organization with abnormal distribution of centromeric proteins and shorter interkinetochore distances. Our results suggests that POLO is required to promote amphitelic attachment and chromosome bi-orientation by regulating both the activity of the correction mechanism and the architecture of the centromere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Segregation / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Kinetochores / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA Interference
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • polo protein, Drosophila
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases